My Life-Changing Use of Points: A Free Room at This All-Inclusive Wellness Resort
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A few years ago, I sent my mom to the Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona to celebrate her 60th birthday. After returning from her 4-night stay, she said the experience was life-changing.
Nightly rates have skyrocketed at Miraval since I booked the trip for my mom 5 years ago, which prevented me from booking a trip myself. So I was ecstatic when Hyatt acquired Miraval and allowed loyalty members to book a stay using points.
To make my decision even easier, Hyatt announced a phenomenal promotion this summer to get a 50% points rebate for stays through August 31, 2018. My wife and I decided to take advantage of this amazing deal and celebrate our 2-year wedding anniversary at this top-rated resort.
Prior to this trip, my favorite way to use points was typically for luxurious getaways or First Class flights. Those redemptions are certainly enjoyable, but I wouldn’t categorize them as life-changing. But using points to stay at Miraval was an eye-opening and unforgettable experience. We might actually go back again this summer while the promotion is going on.
If you’re not familiar with Miraval, the first thing to learn is that it’s not your typical spa retreat or all-inclusive resort serving all you can drink piña coladas. While there’s definitely a spa offering lots of ways to pamper yourself, the focus is on other daily activities to improve the mind & body. It’s the healthiest all-inclusive destination you’ll likely come across. And alcohol is NOT included in the price of admission. Lastly, Miraval has a no tipping policy.
Using Hyatt Points for an Incredible Stay at Miraval Resort
Team member Jason recently wrote about his trip to Miraval and shared a great summary of the points cost of a stay. As a reminder, you can use points to book a stay at Miraval at the following rates:
- 45,000 Hyatt points per night for single occupancy + 20,000 points per night for an additional guest in a standard room
- 75,000 Hyatt points per night for single occupancy + 20,000 points per night for an additional guest in a suite
- 22,500 Hyatt points + $450 per night for single occupancy
- 32,500 Hyatt points + $550 per night for double occupancy
Booking at Miraval is the most expensive use of your Hyatt points. Other top-tier Hyatt hotels only cost 30,000 points per night.
But thanks to a fantastic summer promotion, you can currently get a 50% points rebate on stays at Miraval through August 31, 2018. For example, my wife and I used 65,000 points for a 1-night stay. And we’ll get a rebate of 32,500 points within the next few weeks. I transferred points earned on my Chase Sapphire Reserve card directly to my Hyatt loyalty account to make this award booking possible.
And whether you book now during the promotion or during another part of the year, award nights come with a $175 resort credit per person. You can use this toward some of the fantastic premium experiences available, which I’ll talk about down below.
As a reference, the nightly room rates at Miraval are insane. Even in the summer, which is considered low season because of the hot temperatures, you could end up paying more than $1,500 per night.
So from a dollar per point perspective, booking an award at Miraval, especially during the current promotion, is an unbelievable deal. In the end, we used 32,500 points for a $1,500 room, which is a value of ~4.6 cents per point ($1,500 / 32,500 points).
Life in Balance at Miraval
I’ll be the first to admit I struggle to live in balance. I’m definitely a workaholic. Even though I enjoy being productive, my wife often reminds me that I need to relax a little bit.
So it was refreshing to arrive at Miraval and learn of their “Life in Balance” motto. At check-in, we actually had to sign a cell phone policy and agree not to take phone calls in the public spaces of the resort. And if we needed to send text messages, we would do so discreetly and not in front of other guests.
And after checking in to our room, there was a cell phone sleeping bag next to our bed. I actually kept my phone inside the bag for the duration of our stay. It was probably the longest I went without looking at my cell phone since I got one at 12 years old.
Because of the cell phone policy, I didn’t take many personal photographs. But you can find pictures of the resort and activities on the Miraval website.
We were only staying for 1 night, so we definitely wanted to get our
money’s points worth. We arrived at 10:30 am knowing that our room might not be ready until 3:00 pm, but thankfully, it was. One of the great parts about the resort is you can start participating in activities starting at 11:00 am on the day of check-in. And you have until 5:00 pm on the day of check-out to fill up your schedule, even though you’ll have to vacate your room before then.
At Miraval, there’s a unique schedule each day with activities available from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. Some of the classes are walk-in and include fitness classes, nutritional seminars, mediation sessions, and many others.
Then, there are limited activities, which require you to sign-up in advance. Certain limited activities are free and others you have to pay for. Keep in mind, you can use your daily resort fee credit to offset the cost of any premium activities. The same goes for booking private sessions. For example, my wife did a 1-hour consult with the nutritionist that was covered by the $175 resort credit.
I could go on and on about the positive takeaways we had from each of the activities we completed. But it’s definitely a place where you have to experience it for yourself. As a summary, here’s a look at some of the free and premium activities my wife and I did while at Miraval:
- 2-hour morning hike
- Cycling class
- 3 meditation sessions
- Face to Face challenge course activity: move in pairs across cables 30 feet high
- Lymphatic drainage facial
- Mindful relationship discussion
- Nutritionist consultation
- 75-minute Ayurveda massage
As a disclaimer, I had never meditated in my life prior to the sessions I did at Miraval. But I had an open mind when visiting the resort and wanted to try activities out of my comfort zone. And I was glad I did because I learned a lot in the process.
In between activities, we enjoyed the most delicious (and healthy) meals I’ve come across at an all-inclusive resort. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style. And dinner is à la carte. Also, there’s a coffee and snack bar that’s open during the day, which served smoothies and other quick bites.
Tips for Those Planning a Trip to Miraval
After spending 2 days at Miraval, I’m certainly not an expert. But I thought I’d share some takeaways that might help if you’re considering booking a trip.
1. Plan Ahead and Book the Limited Activites
My wife and I learned the hard way that popular limited activities fill up quickly. We booked our award stay ~2 weeks prior to arriving and found certain activities were already at capacity. You can check out the Miraval Daily Schedule to learn what activities are available when you’re planning your trip.
Specifically, we wanted to book an activity called “It’s Not About the Horse” with Wyatt Webb, Miraval’s Director of Equine Programs. Wyatt is a world-famous author and therapist. Hence, the activities he leads are booked weeks or even months in advance. Below is a brief highlight of the equine therapy activity, which we hope to try the next time we go to Miraval.
Even if you don’t want to pay for premium activities, you should still register for the free limited activities. For example, the Face to Face challenge course activity was the highlight of our trip. And this was limited to 8 people, so thankfully we had registered in advance.
2. Budget for Premium Experiences
The $175 per person daily resort credit might seem generous, but this can easily disappear depending on the activities and spa services you sign-up for. As an example, I did at a 75-minute massage, which cost $275.
Of course, you’re not obligated to sign-up for expensive spa services. So you could use the resort credit toward other premium activities.
3. Go Outside Your Comfort Zone
The pools and spa at Miraval are great. But the available daily activities and private sessions are what makes Miraval worth visiting. Even just going to Miraval might be outside of the comfort zone for some folks. Once you’re there, I’d encourage everyone to try something new.
My wife and I were thrilled to have the opportunity to use Hyatt points for a free room at the all-inclusive Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa. As a reminder, there’s a 50% points rebate deal which is valid until August 31, 2018.
You can book a double occupancy room for 65,000 Hyatt points per night and get 32,500 points back. This is an unbelievable deal considering room rates at the resort can be $1,500+ per night. And when you book an award stay at Miraval, each person receives a $175 daily resort credit to use toward premium activities or spa services.Our trip to Miraval was life-changing. My wife and I got to try things we’d never do at home or on another miles & points vacation. For example, we got to test our communication skills by walking face to face across tightropes 30 feet in the air. And we attended 3 meditation classes. This was my first exposure to meditation and it was a great learning experience.
Have you been to Miraval or somewhere similar? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.
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